Directly from my diary, logged on August 14 at 4:45pm:
I’m FREEZING. I feel like the synovial fluid in my joints is freezing and that my nose will soon fall off. Problem is, I can’t cover it because I need to make sure to get enough oxygen!
We reached Kibo (at 4703 meters) safe and sound. It was a difficult hike but I felt stronger
today than any previous day. I carried my own day pack too unlike the second day of the hike. Alphonce said I was Chuga today! Chuga means iron in Swahili. I hope that continues till summit!
The climb was steep through the moorland until we reached Mawenzi Ridge. That’s when you enter the Alpine Desert region of the mountain. It was very windy and cold.
I stayed right behind Alphonce and somehow his slow, rhythmic movements helped me focus and keep pace. Alphonce is a big man with big feet. He is also very quiet and kind. It was soothing to walk behind him.
I kept my eyes on the trail and on Alphonce’s feet most of the time to make myself think I was walking on flat ground. It really did help.
Kibo Hut is a stone hut. There are five rooms, each with many beds. Peter made sure the three of us got our own room again. There are ten cots in this room.
We left Horombo at 9 am and got here at 2 pm. We unpacked, changed, and packed our day packs for the night hike, then slept. I slept for an hour then had to run to the bathroom (a clean hole-in-the-ground, by the way). When I got back to our room I tried sleeping again but couldn’t so I just stayed warm in the sleeping bag.
Dinner is at 5pm then we sleep again and at 10:30pm we start our summit hike. Beyond a very mild headache and frozen everything I’m fine.
Oh…of course we had a gourmet lunch along the way to Kibo: mushroom
soup, vegetable sandwiches, cake, and salads. There was also meat and eggs and pancakes but I couldn’t get myself to stomach those. And of course I had my hot chocolate.